Somerset Over 60’s 2XI Captain’s Review 2019
2019 has been the most successful season yet for the 2nd XI. Reaching the Plate for the first time, and just missed out on a place in the national final, finishing second to Surrey in the Southern group. Surrey subsequently lost the final to Lancashire.
The season started badly, losing heavily to eventual West Division champions Wales. But three successive victories against Devon (Glyn Flinders 3 for 26), Worcestershire (Keith Bell 100, Julian Harvey 90, Steve Sheppard 3 for 12) and Gloucestershire (Alistair Barr 105, Jerry Palmer 3 for 26) propelled us to 2nd place in the table. An opportunity to go top was thwarted by the weather as our return game against Wales was cancelled. We also lost our match against Devon to the weather, and then suffered a shock defeat to Worcestershire, but other results went our way, and we were still in Second, with a winner takes all game against Gloucestershire for a place in the Southern Plate. It wasn’t strictly a winner takes all game, because we could afford to lose as long as we picked up seven points or more. We picked up our seven points, and winning/losing was of no consequence, so we locked up shop, ensuring we lost no more wickets. Gloucestershire won, but we went through.
The Southern plate started with victory over Kent at Orpington on an extremely hot day, thanks to a patient 39* from Rick Hutchinson and a match winning 4 for 28 from Brian Pearson. Our game v Surrey was cancelled before a great team effort saw us beat Hampshire at Cadnam. A disappointing display v Oxfordshire in our only home game, despite a valiant 92* from Pete Rebera, left us needing to beat Hertfordshire at Radlett and hope Hampshire could thrash Surrey. Great contributions from the two Simon’s, Hardy (4 for 38) and Hopkinson 64, saw us beat Herts, but news filtered through that Hampshire were 30 for 7 v Surrey, so Surrey rightly proceeded to the final.
All in all, an excellent season, winning against good quality opposition, and other than the defeat against Wales, putting in strong performances against the rest. Better availability in the firsts and the 70’s filtered through to the seconds. Availability from regulars such as Adrian Procter, Alistair Barr, Pete Rebera, Jerry Palmer, Clive Copp and Steve Sheppard added to core players Miles Richards, Glyn Flinders, Neil Johnson, Rick Hutchinson and myself, meant we were able to field stronger sides than in previous years.
The 2019 season saw us play in four friendlies which gave us an opportunity to look at new players. Ed Morris, David Barton and Steve Crompton all played an important role after impressing in these matches. Thirty players represented the seconds during the season, so big thanks to all those players that made themselves available week after week, some of whom didn’t get a game all year, but there’s no doubt that without the depth we wouldn’t have had such a good season. Big thanks to our regular umpires, Paul Bachelor and Chris Norton and our reliable scorer Tom Gibbard.